Why I’m a Yamabushi

I've been invited to give a talk about why I'm a Yamabushi. Probably the most intriguing part of this story isn't the how, although that part is interesting, it's more the why I'm still a Yamabushi.

I feel this is similar to why I'm still in the Shonai region. For both, it was more fate that decided things. Coming to Shonai was decided by my application to the JET Programme, they chose Shonai town for me, and of course I'm glad they did.

Then, becoming a Yamabushi is a little bit more out of necessity because I felt a great opportunity to make a contribution, thanks to my boss setting things up as he has. However, I wouldn't have known of this opportunity if my friend hadn't been out running, and my boss hadn't spotted him and started a conversation.

We ended up meeting for lunch, me, my friend, and the two people working for Megurun, the company that runs Yamabushido. Then, I sort of went with the flow. Helping out here and there until I eventually established my own job where I am now an important member.

But I think the reason why I have stayed being a Yamabushi is probably more what I will be asked. It's just like the reason why I stayed in Shonai, because I felt a real connection and I felt this place was very special, but then that connection and special feeling just got deeper and deeper.

And now, Yamabushi training is an important part of my life. I find it helps give me balance and perspective.

Balance in that it keeps me disciplined, I know I need to do more meditation and also things like practice the Horagai, and the training gives me very good reason to do so. Meaning there is balance in my life between work and fun.

And then perspective because while training in nature, we have a lot of time to think on things, but probably the most important thing I've learned from nature is simply to appreciate it. That appreciation then turns into appreciation for life itself, which in turn leads to raison d'être, or simply, the want or desire to live. This has been the biggest gift from becoming a Yamabushi, and I am forever thankful for it.

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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